Who are they?
Hidden Treasure Discovery Centre are the CIC behind The Hideaway, a unique play space located above the shopping centre in Partington that uses equipment and activities to help children explore their value and worth, gifts and potential. The space is also used to build relationships with adults, meeting a holistic range of needs and supporting people into healthier lives, supportive communities, great employment and strong relationships. Putting people before profit, the organisation is a social enterprise and not-for-profit.
Since Covid-19 hit, Hidden Treasure have transformed their space and their activities to provide vital support to their community. While the space has had to close as a play centre, it has temporarily become the Hope Centre, through which Hidden Treasure aim “to make sure that every single member of our community is taken care of, that no one is missed, and that the support is provided in the safest possible way for everyone.” Their work includes co-ordinating local volunteers and support organisations, channelling resources from inside and outside the community to those who need them, ensuring that everyone can eat healthily every day, and signposting people to additional support as required. Since restrictions have changed this has also included vital support groups for new parents and education lessons such as maths and English for the wider community.
What do they do and why?
Hidden Treasure provide a range of offers under one roof. Their focus from the start has been on services which offer prevention and ongoing support based on the belief that being surrounded by positive relationships supports higher levels of emotional wellbeing and increased personal resilience. For Hidden Treasure, this approach encourages a society where individuals are better equipped to cope with the challenges that life throws at them.
At The Hideaway, their usual services and activities include:
• a creative play space
• interactive children’s workshops and sessions following the national syllabus
• a schools mentoring programme supporting children who are socially isolated to flourish
• helping local people back into work through their supportive employment and volunteering opportunities
• supporting local families with courses and support services
As the Hope Centre, Hidden Treasure are working closely with Trafford Council, Partington Food Bank, Your Housing Group, Trafford Housing Trust, People's Church and other organisations to gather as much resource as possible to support their community. Since the start of the crisis the Hope Centre have given away well over £50,000 worth of food and energy support to local families in addition to the hundreds of food parcels that have been paid for.
People who need support from the Hope Centre can:
• Order basic essential items for free doorstep drop delivery by local volunteers
• Request food support if they're in financial difficulty
• Request errands such as prescription collections or meter top ups
• Provide hot meals delivered to the doorstep
• Provide financial support and subsidised food/meals for those who need it
• Receive information and support to access the Food Bank and other additional services
• Provide a daily well-being phone call for anyone concerned about being alone or their mental health
For Hidden Treasure, the Hideaway is the first stage in a longer-term plan to develop their play and community facilities and their creation of the Hope Centre demonstrates their commitment to growing their reach and impact. At the heart of what they do is taking a holistic, partner-led approach to leading on community transformation. Hidden Treasure now have plans to open a charity shop and community hub in partnership with a number of local partners including the South Manchester Food Bank, The Bread and Butter Thing and the two main local housing associations. The unit is on the other side of Partington (in the centre of the local housing estate) and will enable them to carry on and expand their vital work providing extra support for their community when they open their play centre doors again.
What funding did they receive and how did it help them?
Hidden Treasure have received two investments totalling just over £66k. The loan element of the investment was for working capital, to support the development of their offer and their social impact, and to cover costs related to the set-up of the Hideaway. The investment also included a grant of £5,000 as a contribution to their Noah’s Ark education suite and community resource space, which has enabled them to run more adult courses and community support activities. The ark acts as an exciting volunteer hub for the wider community where local volunteers come together for training, support, mentoring and meet-ups through ‘Step Up Partington’.
“The investment from GMCVO made all the difference at a really crucial stage in our development. It gave us the freedom to press on with our social mission and focus on the work we do rather than the finances. The grant element has enabled us to build an incredible totally unique facility that is fun and engaging as well as practical. The grant has helped support the building of a classroom, community resource space, office and meeting spaces which has created a community training facility and volunteer hub for the area. GMCVO have been helpful and engaging right through the process, offering the support and advice to make the whole process as easy as possible, enabling us to focus on our work and maximise our chances of success in all that we plan to do over the coming years.” Ruth Lancey, Director, Hidden Treasure
What impact has the funding had?
The investment enabled Hidden Treasure to complete the initial set-up phase and begin to focus on providing additional learning, support for families and educational activities for children. It relieved some of the financial pressures and enabled them to create a new pricing structure, making the facility affordable for all and subsidised for local families – making it accessible to everyone who wants to visit. The grant element contributed to Hidden Treasure being able to turn their café into an entire ark - complete with animals! – providing a place for families to share meals together as well as an education suite for people to access computers and training courses, and a volunteer to help with things like job hunting or creating CVs.
For more information about Hidden Treasure, visit www.thehideawaymanchester.com